Ferry's In The Jungle

Ferry's In The Jungle
1 Peter 1:22b "Love one another deeply, from the heart."

Monday, July 8, 2019

4th of July Expat Fun!

US holidays sometimes are skipped over in Ecuador. BUT, this year we had a great time celebrating the 4th of July with many of our expat friends. The party was thrown together last minute but we had so much fun. Truly, how can yummy cupcakes, a waterfall, grilling food and friends NOT be fun?! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Death brings new life (Part 1)

It's not uncommon for friends to show up at our gate with a weight on their shoulders or a need on their mind. We do all we can to stop the flurry of life and sit, listen and pray together. Sometimes these visits change the course of our week and we often continue to engage for months to come. This is the case in the story we will tell you today.

One of our friends came by with tear-filled eyes and told us the story of their dying family member. This young man was in his early twenties and the doctors didn't believe he'd survive the week. Confusion marked the story because the doctor had explained the condition of this young man's health and his prognosis but the family, being tribal, did not understand the medical terms and explanation. Spanish is their second language and the environment of the hospital very different from their jungle home. 

Our team of believers huddled up for a plan of attack. A nurse friend accompanied Chris and our friends to the hospital in hopes of hearing from the doctor again and translating the information to decrease anxiety and plan for next steps. Our home filled with kids as their parents passed hard hour after hard hour, hard day after hard day in the hospital. Our couches were converted into beds. Tons of rice was made to fill the non-veggie loving bellies of these precious and confused kids. Our car was full to the brim of family members shuttling to and from the hospital. Our kitchen was busy cooking meals for tired moms coming home only to meet a hungry family. We are honored to serve and support in these ways.

The days to come were more and more sad. The family, desperate for a solution, discussed visiting the witchdoctor for healing. Believing friends prayed for spiritual breakthrough and protection. Our joy was complete as on his deathbed the young father accepted Christ and returned home from the hospital with peace in his heart. He died hours later with his young wife and two daughters by his side. 

At his funeral the gospel was shared. We called Ecuadorian friends who were equipped to share the gospel and asked them to sit with family members. The face of this evangelistic wave wasn't ours; it was the face of our Ecuadorian partners. We were along the side, cheering, praying and facilitating. 

We continue in this roll as the reality of this tragedy unfolds. 

Death brings new life (Part 2)

After the funeral our first concern was supporting and caring for our friends as they dealt with this loss. Times of grief and confusion can make a person very vulnerable and the temptation of past sins and destructive coping mechanisms crouch at the door. We've seen God work mightily in our tribal friends lives and were on our knees begging God for protection and strength during this time. He heard our cry.

In the coming days we heard stories of the brokenness of the family, the regret and the desire to live differently. The parents of this young man shared that at one point they knew the Truth but stopped walking with God when their kids were young. The young man died of complications related to AIDS. He'd lived with this disease, hidden and full of shame for years. The family clearly saw the sad reality of "the wages of sin is death" and grieved that they didn't raise him in Truth. This young man's death served as a wakeup call for the family. 

Our close friends expressed their desire to begin meeting with their family members and neighbors to talk about the things of God, to sing together and provide a healthy community alternative to heavy drinking and more. We were overjoyed to hear this vision and now are supporting them to fulfill this desire. It has been our prayer to see this community have a positive Christian influence and this beauty was being brought out of the ashes of death. AND, the driving force and leadership is tribal! 
Entrance into community

After learning that the young man died of a preventable disease, conversations began to circulate amongst missionaries and Ecuadorian believers about health education and the risks associated with the lack of education. This young man may have lived if shame and fear hadn't driven his choices. Additionally, his death left behind a very young mom and two young daughters. These three are at risk - desperation and fear can make way for the unthinkable. But this story of preventable death and the vulnerability of young women is common in our community. Shame, fear and cultural/language disconnection open the floodgates of risk. 

Again, our friends expressed a desire to meet this need. Yay! So, here we go again. Serving in our role. Mobilize, plan, and facilitate. It seems at this point that the effort will be a partnership between the tribal, national and foreign churches/organizations. But, the door is open and the need is great. In the coming months we will walk this path with our tribal friends. Along the way we will encourage, listen, counsel, and pray. We trust our God who brings beauty from ashes. 

Please Pray For:
- Wisdom and protection for Mateo and Emma as they lead this new venture
- Safety and provision for the young mom and her daughters
- Spiritual breakthrough and lasting impact in this community
- Unity, cooperation and wisdom amongst believers as we support and serve

Monday, March 4, 2019

Heyday in the USA!

After over 4 years living abroad we needed to take 3 months in the US to reconnect with our churches, supporters and friends. Time in the US for foreign missionaries is important but not always easy! It's like cultural whiplash entering the US and then whiplash round 2 when returning to your country of service BUT we sure had a lot of fun on the wild ride. 

Grace, coffee and a good sense of humor was the name of the game!

East Coast
We started our US trip traveling up the East Coast and visiting friends and supporters. During the month of November we visited 13 states and slept in 10 different beds. All that moving and shaking was most definitely worth the connection with dear people. To top it all off we enjoyed the first snow of the season in NYC and soaked up some much needed museum time in DC.

The end of November was spent with Chris' family celebrating Thanksgiving together for the first time in 5 years. We also enjoyed the unexpected opportunity of sharing at Calvary Chapel St George's missions
movie night. Talking about the Current State of the Tribal Church and sharing how we can work to Strengthen the Tribal Church is alway a great joy.

We spent December and January in Colorado connecting with our 3 sending churches. Our days (and nights!) were filled with small group meetings, kids-clubs, Sunday services, luncheons, early morning coffees, breakfasts, and much more. Despite the tight schedule we are leaving with wind in our sails because of your love and encouragement. Seeing God at work in North America only deepens our faith and sets our feet even straighter for the work God has prepared for us in Ecuador.

Meeting with kids is one of our favorite connections in the US. During our time together we are able to discuss their "mission" here in the USA.

To LOVE GOD and LOVE OTHERS ...wherever God places them.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Train 'Em Up!

Per our pastor's request, for the last 8 weeks Reese and I have worked to set up a children's program at our small church and to equip Kelly (a young church member) to run with the program. With Kelly's remarkable help we have found a way to meet in a dirt-floor wood-shop amongst tools, chickens, cats and dogs. The kids sit on benches and some only come chin high to the table but we make it work and they don't seem to mind one bit. 

Over the weeks we've come to see how very well equipped Kelly is to serve all these little people. Kelly and I meet once a week to plan and to get on the same page. Kelly's keen eye, attention to detail and understanding of the learning styles of the kids has challenged me. After hand-writing 15 bible verse cards she perseveres and draws a detailed picture on each card. Let's just say we don't share the core value of, "good enough is good enough." Kelly would say, "excellence is enough!" We have so much to learn from our Ecuadorian brothers and sisters. What a joy to learn and grow together!

Each week more and more kiddos come with their smiling faces and their inquisitive minds. Together we are learning that the Bible is our map for life, that Jesus is the way and that we can walk and talk with him as we navigate life's joys and challenges. 

Please be praying for these 15+ kids and that they would be protected and come to know True Love. Also, please be praying for Kelly as she faithfully leads this troop as we are away. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Welcome to the table

In our ministry we talk a lot about "inviting everyone to have a seat at the table". Strategically this is done through engaging the "Three Waves" - the foreign church, the national church and the tribal church. The longer we live abroad and "stir the pot" to make an aromatic soup of unity the more convinced we become that this formula is the solution for sustainable, authentic impact. Our prayer is that the fragrance of our love for one another will be beautiful worship and will draw non-believers to the One who makes all this loving, forgiving, and cooperation possible. 

Lately our resolve has grown for a ministry of hospitality and encouragement. We see very clearly that Hospitality = Depth of Relationship = Trust and Mutual Understanding = True Partnership and Empowerment. To truly have the Three Waves at the table we need to first invite all the players to the table to be known, heard and understood. 

Luke 14:12-14 

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Lately we've been actively seeking out people who haven't sat at our table; people who may not often be invited to sit at the table; people who maybe aren't "our type of people." They may not be our type of people but they most certainly are God's type of people. And, guess what? More often than not, we find common ground, we uncover together shared passions, burdens and visions. Ultimately He is glorified and Christ's prayer for unity (John 17) is fulfilled, right there at our dinner table. 

Sitting together at the table is the beginning of the work. Relationship is the ongoing, never-ending work. If we are going to work together effectively, we need to know each other. And may others come to know Him because of the aroma of the rich and fulfilling unity we share. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Producing Perseverance...

Lately James 1:2-4 has been running over and over again in my head. "Consider it joy when you face trials. The testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let it finish its work. When its work is finished you will be mature and complete. You won't be lacking anything."

My inner dialogue actually goes something like this...

"Ahhhh!! The washing machine is broken again! Ahhh!!!" Consider it joy. 

"Ahhh!!!! My neighbor literally just hacked a pig foot off the pig and handed it to me as a gift! Smile, Tina. Smile, and act like you like it." Consider it joy. You are producing perseverance.

"Ahhhh!! It's raining so hard and my tin roof is so loud. Now I'm sitting in my closet trying to hear. My life is hard. I can't hear my friend on Skype and I so need a nice chat." Consider it joy. You are producing perseverance. Let it finish its work.

"Ahhh!! The water has been turned off by the government without notice. I'm greasy and look homeless. It's not pretty. Please just throw me a bone Ecuador." Consider it joy.  You are producing perseverance. Let it finish its work. I am maturing you, Tina. You have everything you need.

Right now I often get stuck on, "Let it finish its work." because the work of trials is challenging, and painful, and picks away at all those false identities I like to cling to fervently. BUT God's promises are true so I cling to the One Who Can and keep producing perseverance and letting it do its work, trusting I won't lack anything.